How to paint a commission

How does an artist go about painting a commissioned painting?  Every artist is different but I’d like to share how I go about it.  I recently got a commission from a collector of mine and I thought I would share the process with you over several blog posts.

To start, I needed an idea of which type of painting style of mine he liked best, the painting size he had in mind, and the color palette he envisioned.  He also sent me photographs of the other artworks in his home that would be within sight of the painting I was creating.

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I started by sketching out some rough compositional ideas in small thumbnails (3″ x 3″).  Next, I picked my favorite composition and transferred the same sketch onto a couple sheets of Bristol board.  Then I painted two small studies with different color palettes based on the colors the collector was interested in.  You can see how I went dark and dramatic in one painting, and hot and bright in the other.  These are very small studies (6″ x 6″) and they are just to get some early feedback on preferences, likes and dislikes before moving forward onto the next phase.  Then I emailed the sketches to the client who gave me some valuable input to move forward with.  Check back and you’ll see which sketch he liked best when I post the next phase.

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